Chess Nerds

Chess legend-turned-nutjob Bobby Fischer is dead. The Washington Post details his more crazy antics. A few gems:

* In 1981, he was arrested in Pasadena, by mistake, on suspicion of bank robbery, which prompted him to publish a pamphlet entitled, "I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jail House."

* He gave $90,000 of his world championship winnings to the Pasadena-based Worldwide Church of God, a fundamentalist sect whose founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, had predicted that Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1975 after a nuclear holocaust. When the year came and went without nuclear incident, Fischer left the church.

* He reportedly had the fillings removed from his teeth to prevent the Soviets from transmitting secret messages.

This all of course reminds me of my favorite movie of 1993, Searching for Bobby Fischer. Steve Zallian's portrait of real-life chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin is engrossing, moving, and layered. He also manages to make chess exciting, with matches that involve you emotionally and never cease to thrill. I know you don't believe me, but remember when you thought spelling bees were boring but then you saw Spellbound?! This is like that.


  1. Aurelio1/19/2008

    Since this blog currently highlights teenaged boys, Asians, and Bobby Fisher. Here's something that connects all three.

    Way back in 1972, Fischer won against Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship -- the first time someone outside the Soviet Union won since 1948. It sparked a chess frenzy in the Philippines, especially among teens.

    The silence of chess pieces quickly replaced the thud of basketballs, comic strips and comic books featured chess storylines, and school prefects confiscated chess paraphernalia. The craze lasted about a year or two.

  2. My first thought upon hearing the news was not "Checkmate," though it should have been.

    It was "He got pawned."

  3. searching for bobby fisher remains one of my favourite films of all times... i never watch it without welling up at the end.

    the young boy who plays josh was a chess champion himself, did you know that?

    aside to gw~ahahahahahaha